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How retailers can sell to experience-oriented millennials: CEOs

Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren acknowledged on Monday that millennials are chasing after experiences rather than retail goods, but he said that is not necessarily a bad thing.

"I think it's a good thing, particularly if you have a physical presence because more and more I think you're going to see young people shopping together, shopping as an experience, and I think it's the retailer's roll to make sure we are providing that entertainment and that experience," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

To meet the needs of millennials, Macy's has stocked a newly renovated lower level at its Herald Square flagship in Manhattan with products like Fitbit health monitors and 3-D printers, Lundgren said.

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Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack said millennials may be spending more on experiences, but they need goods to embark on those experiences.

"My son hiked Kilimanjaro and other places, and to go do those things, he needs stuff to do that. He had to buy jackets, and boots and all that," Stack told "Squawk Box."

He said that puts Dick's in a good position to cater to millennials. The company is tapping into Fitbit's open architecture to offer rewards not just for shopping in-store, but for completing physical activities like running.

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Michelle Peluso,Gilt Groupe president and CEO, said millennial shoppers represent a different kind of consumer, and retailers would be "completely wrong" to expect them to change,

"They have grown up with a different set of experiences, different technology, different expectations of service, of convenience, of delivery that they can get online any time," she told "Squawk Box." "Our job is to innovate to meet their needs."

Retailers should also broaden their definition of "experiences," she said. Featuring brands with back stories that resonate with millennials is a way to make them feel like they're taking part in an experience, she said.